Hummingbirds in Massachusetts: 6 Species To Watch For

Sharing is caring!

Massachusetts is located in the New England region of the Northeastern United States and is the United States’ 7th smallest state area-wise.

Nicknamed the Bay State, Massachusetts has 1,500 miles of coastline. The primary biome of Massachusetts is temperate deciduous forest, with around 62% of the state covered in forests. Most of the state has a humid continental climate, with warm summer months and cold winters.

This climate provides Massachusetts with the perfect environment for its abundant birdlife, with 505 different bird species listed on their official list.

Let’s look at how many of the listed bird species in Massachusetts are hummingbirds.

Hummingbird Species In Massachusetts

There are six major hummingbird species found on record in Massachusetts. One is a native breeder, three are accidental vagrants, and two are rare visitors.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

  • Scientific name:Archilochus colubris
  • Length:8 – 3.5 inches
  • Weight:1 – 0.2 ounces
  • Wingspan:1 – 4.3 inches

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the most common hummingbirds in North America.

The adult male and female Ruby-throated hummingbirds are bronze-green colored on their crowns, back, and nape. They have whitish-gray abdomens with dark outer tail feathers and wings showing a hint of purple.

Adult males have iridescent ruby-red throat patches and dark-colored, slightly forked tails, and are smaller than their female counterparts. In contrast to the males’ green sides, the adult females have brownish-colored sides and rounded tails with white tips.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are native breeders in Massachusetts, usually arriving around the beginning of May and departing for their wintering grounds around the end of September.

Being the only breeding hummingbird in eastern North America, the Ruby-throated hummingbird has the largest breeding range of any hummingbird in North America.

Their primary food is nectar from plants, with a preference for tubular flowers that are orange, red, and bright pink. They will also eat spiders and insects, as they are a good protein source for hummingbirds.

Rufous Hummingbirds

Rufous Hummingbird

  • Scientific name: Selasphorus rufus
  • Length: 3.5 – 4 inches
  • Weight: 0.071 – 0.176 ounces
  • Wingspan: 4.3 inches

The adult male Rufous hummingbird has a vivid iridescent orange-red throat patch. His face, upper plumage, and black-tipped tail are a reddish-brown color. His abdomen, chest, and throat are creamy white.

The adult female has iridescent orange streaks on her white speckled throat and a greenish-bronze back and crown. She has reddish-brown sides with a whitish chest.

An accidental visitor to Massachusetts, Rufous hummingbirds are some of the most widespread hummingbirds, having been spotted in nearly every state.

This beautiful bird makes one of the longest migratory flights of any bird of its size in the world. It makes a clockwise circuit of western North America every year during its migration journey.

The Rufous hummingbird breeds as far north as southeastern Alaska, and this is one of the northernmost breeding ranges of any hummingbird worldwide.

In 2018, the Rufous hummingbird was upgraded to near-threatened from least concern. This upgrade is partly due to dwindling insect populations due to pesticides and the early blooming of the flowers they feed on during their breeding season due to climate change.

Black-Chinned Hummingbird

Black-Chinned Hummingbird

  • Scientific Name: Archilochus alexandri
  • Length: 25 inches
  • Weight: 1 – 0.2 ounces
  • Wingspan: 3 inches

Adult male and female Black-chinned hummingbirds have metallic-green backs and whitish bellies, with green flanks. They also sport a white patch right behind their eyes, with straight, slender, long black bills.

The adult male has a velvety black chin and face, with a black throat banded by a glossy violet-blue band on the lower area, which borders a white collar. The Black-chinned hummingbird female’s face is green with a plain throat.

This popular hummingbird is an accidental visitor to Massachusetts, with several records of their visits over the years. They are a relatively common sight in the western United States and Canada.

The Black-chinned hummingbird has adapted well to urban areas, but they prefer open woodlands, gardens, and parks.

These birds prefer to feed on nectar, using long extendable tongues to reach inside colorful flowers, and they will also happily catch insects while flying. Their primary feeding grounds are gardens and meadows.

Calliope Hummingbird

Calliope Hummingbird

  • Scientific Name: Selasphorus calliope
  • Length: 8 – 3.9 inches
  • Weight: 071 – 0.106 ounces
  • Wingspan: 3 inches

Adult male and female Calliope hummingbirds have glossy green backs and creamy white bellies. The adult females have dark streaks in their dull whitish throats, a white-tipped dark tail, and a pinkish wash on their sides.

The adult males have a bright magenta throat with elongated iridescent purple-streaked or wine-red throat feathers. If these feathers become erect, they have a whiskered effect. He also has a dark tail and green sides.

The Calliope hummingbirds are accidental visitors to Massachusetts, and if they do visit, it usually is in the winter months.

The Calliope hummingbird is the United States’ smallest bird. It is also the most petite long-distance traveler globally, traveling around 5,000 miles every year during its migration from its winter grounds in Central America to its summer breeding grounds.

The male will create a loud buzzing sound during courtship by accelerating his wing beats up to 95 beats per second while he hovers in front of a female.

The male will then fly up to 65 feet in the air before rapidly descending, and this causes sonation of his wing and tail feathers. He combines this with vocalizations to attract the females’ attention.

Allen’s Hummingbirds

Allen's Hummingbird

  • Scientific Name: Selasphorus sasin
  • Length: 3 – 3.5 inches
  • Weight:  1 ounces
  • Wingspan:  3 inches

The adult male and female Allen’s hummingbirds have mostly green heads and backs, with chins that vary from orange to bright red, with spotted tones ranging from silverish to bronze, and they have cinnamon to light brown tummies.

The adult male has an iridescent red-orange or red-copper throat, with elongated feathers that project slightly to the sides. He also has a pointy tail that is orangey in color and a white spot situated behind his black eyes.

The female lacks the male’s brightly colored throat patch, and she has a rufous colored rounded tail with white tips.

These ever-charming hummingbirds are rare visitors to Massachusetts, having been spotted a handful of times in the state. It usually spends its summers along the pacific coast from southern California to Oregon.

The Allen’s hummingbird is one of the first birds to start their migratory journeys to their breeding grounds, sometimes arriving as early as January and making full use of the early native nectar-filled flowers for feeding.

The male Allen’s hummingbird is somewhat territorial and aggressive, often spotted chasing other males away from their territories. These aggressive birds will also chase away other hummingbirds and attack and route larger birds, sometimes up to seven times their size.

Broad-Billed Hummingbird

Broad-billed Hummingbird

  • Scientific Name: Cynanthus latirostris
  • Length: 1 – 3.9 inches
  • Weight: 1 – 0.14 ounces
  • Wingspan: 1 inch

The adult male Broad-billed hummingbird has a glossy green chest and a deep blue throat. He has a slender and straight red beak with a black tip. His tail is slightly forked, dark on top and white on the bottom.

The female’s coloring is not as bright as the male’s, with a light to medium gray chest, throat, and belly. She has a white stripe over each of her eyes.

A rare visitor to Massachusetts, this bird is most likely to be seen between July and December.

These primarily Mexican hummingbirds are regular visitors to the United States. Still, they mostly stay in the southern parts, although some will travel further north, with reports of them visiting Wisconsin.

A Broad-billed hummingbird will consume 1.6 – 1.7 times its body weight in nectar every day.

The male Broad-billed hummingbird will hover a foot away from the female during its courtship display, flying back and forth repeatedly, like a pendulum.

Conclusion

There is only one native breeding hummingbird in Massachusetts. Of the other five popular birds, three are accidental vagrants, different birds visiting over the years, and two are rare visitors with only a few recorded hummingbird sightings.

Although there are only six different hummingbird species that visit Massachusetts, many other bird species make their homes in the Bay State. The following list describes some other species of birds you can view in this state.

Sharing is caring!